Sony Pictures Entertainment has issued an apology over a controversial scene in its new film “Peter Rabbit,” during which a character with an allergy to blackberries is attacked with the offending foodstuff.
“Food allergies are a serious issue,” wrote representatives for Sony Pictures Entertainment, reports The New York Times. “Our film should not have made light of Peter Rabbit’s archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.”
“We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize,” the statement concluded.
The new film “Peter Rabbit,” based on Beatrix Potter’s children’s book of the same name, was released on Feb. 9, but soon began receiving backlash on social media over its treatment of the allergy-afflicted character.
During the film, a character named Tom McGregor, played by Domhnall Gleeson, is purposely pelted with blackberries in a successful attempt to send him into shock. (Reuters)
In the film, Mr. McGregor, Peter Rabbit’s enemy, passes away and his nephew Tom comes to oversee the vegetable patch and exterminate the “vermin.”
It is Tom McGregor, the villain of the film, whom the audience — and Peter Rabbit — learns has an allergy to blackberries. In one scene, the rabbits throw blackberries at Tom, aiming for his mouth. Tom goes into anaphylactic shock and turns red before stabbing himself with an EpiPen.
A charity organization called Allergy UK has since said the scene mocks allergy sufferers, and is an irresponsible move on the part of the filmmakers.
Carla Jones, the charity’s CEO, told the Telegraph: “Anaphylaxis can and does kill. To include a scene in a children’s film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable, as is bullying.
“Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of food allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those who live with this condition, particularly parents who live in fear of their child suffering a life threatening reaction.”
Display nothing; This is on Publish with no configured Image
Jones also said they “will be communicating with the production company about the film’s withdrawal.”
Others who feel the film is “grossly offensive” have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.
“Please update your Peter Rabbit listing to warn parents of kids with food allergies about the violent food allergy bullying scene. Pure and unnecessary violence. #BoycottPeterRabbit,” one wrote on Twitter.